Throughout the season VMC polled our members on player performance after each game. Gary Owen joins us for the last time in this campaign as we hail one Carlos Tévez…
‘El Apache,’ Carlos Alberto Tévez has been in the form of his life and is heading for potential super stardom in South Africa with Argentina in the World Cup. Following all his other accolades, he is unsurprisingly the VMC Forum’s Man Of The Season.
Time and again, Tévez’s sheer determination and will to win saw the striker with a phenomenal 29 goals in 40 City starts win the admiration of VMC’s voting Forum Members.
Once again, our recorded weekly polls have proved a fine indicator of who has been putting in a shift for the Sky Blue cause. Some players have fallen in and out of form with others often coming in a close second to the likes of Tévez. The brilliant emergence of captain in all but armband Vincent Kompany and unsung hero Pablo ‘Bobby MacDonald’ Zabaleta spring to mind.
City continue to make progress against all unsupported by media odds with outright European competition qualification secured for the first time in many, many years. There’s much to look forward to next season as City legend Gary Owen whom it has been an absolute pleasure to interview in this campaign underlines:
‘When you look at it realistically, if you’d have been told that no matter what, we would qualify for European football outright and almost to the last game of the season be competing for Champions League football, you’d have taken it. Expectations increased with results but for me, it would have been unjust had Tottenham not got that fourth spot because they beat Chelsea, Arsenal and us away when they had to and did. Nobody can argue with what they achieved.
‘Obviously one of the first games of the new season will see us compete in Europa League play offs as happened with Everton at the start of this season meaning we’ll be a game behind everybody in the league from the third game onwards. It’s important that we are in Europe and it’s important for the players. They wanted to play in the Champions League, but it was in their hands to achieve it and they didn’t. So they`ve got to make sure in the next campaign that they not only enjoy playing in Europe against some very good clubs in the Europa League but that they progress as we did from 10th to 5th this year by achieving Champions League football. That’s got to be our aim and it’s what the club owners and manager will be looking to do.
‘We need another striker who will help Carlos Tévez. If you take away Carlos Tevez’s 29 goals this past season, we would not have ended up anywhere near The Champions League. We need help up there. Emmanuel Adebayor has had a stop start season with suspensions and The African Nations Cup. That didn’t help matters. Roque Santa Cruz never really got going. He was hampered by not being fit at the start of the season and he has struggled from one injury to another. When he did play his performances left a lot to be desired and he may well be one of the sacrifices this summer. I don’t think he’ll be the only one because we are going to have to bring in better players to move us on and enhance our squad as we did last year to lift us into 4th, 3rd, 2nd or first place, which ever!
‘Hamburg’s Jerome Boateng has been linked with us for the past few months and I think a fee has been agreed long ago. The final touches of the signing are being put together. The young player is strong and can play a variety of positions from midfield to centre back to full back. That gives us another player who can fit into a number of positions which is important to help cover the type of injuries and suspensions we’ve had this season. He of course will be highly likely to start. There will be changes this summer in the name of progression. You can’t stand still in The Premier League and while we continue to close the gap on Arsenal, Chelsea and United, The Champions League must be our focus with an aim to attack both domestic cups as well.
‘Regarding a creative midfielder, Stephen Ireland has not had a good season for one reason or another. He has picked up a couple of niggling injuries and has been in and out of the team with Gareth Barry coming in, Nigel De Jong and now Patrick Vieira to compete with. Stephen has belief in his own ability but I’m sure would certainly say to his own admission that his form dipped from last year for various reasons including a lack of consistency. But when you are in a squad with this standard of player it’s up to you to make sure you are not knocked out of it. Stephen’s next job is to get himself back into the team. Himself and Shaun Wright-Phillips have lost their place but in turn that can help bring the best performances out of them in a competitive squad.’
The Final Reckoning With Gary:
FA Premier League Poll Wins Unless Stated
1. Carlos Tévez, 9 (Bolton A, Spurs A, Wolves A, Blackburn H, the rags H, LCSF1, Chelsea A, Fulham A, Everton H, Wigan H)
Gary’s View: ’29 goals explains it all. He played up front alone for much of the season initially when we played five in midfield which all the more shows his achievement. He wanted to prove himself and he has shown everybody, not that he had to, that not only is he a very good player, but he can score the goals that some people doubted.’
2. Nigel de Jong, 5 (Fulham H LC R3, West Ham H, Wigan Athletic A, Liverpool A, Chelsea H)
Gary’s View: ‘If Nigel plays until he’s 50 he’ll never score a goal! If you check his record I think he’s scored 2 goals in 27 years! I know that’s not his game, but midfielders have a huge responsibility to chip in with some goals and that’s one side of his game he’d like to improve although his main game is to be a destroyer, to challenge, get and give the ball and I thought he did that outstandingly well. As with Carlos Tévez, there is no doubting his energy and no doubting his commitment.’
3=. Craig Bellamy, 4 (Arsenal H, the rags A, Villa A, Sunderland H)
Gary’s View: “After Carlos Tévez, Craig would have been my man of the season. The goals he’s scored, the goals he’s made and his contribution to the team. Considering he’s a wide player he also scored some important goals. As we all know, Craig has problems with his knees and like a lot players these days (we already spoke about Ledley King in our last article) he finds it difficult to play two or three times a week due to the wear and tear on his knees, but when he does play, again you have that commitment and desire to win. He’s also done more than his fair share of getting back and defending as well as is expected of modern day wide men. I would be sad to see him leave if the rumours are to be believed. Even though we have Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson I think he gives us experience and with us fighting on all fronts I’d like to see him still with us next season.’
3=. Gareth Barry, 4 (Blackburn A, Portsmouth A, Stoke H, the rags H)
Gary’s View: ‘I thought that Gareth started off really well and then his form dipped a little bit but it started to pick up towards the end of the season. Paer talk said he was carrying an injury that might require a groin or hernia operation that would be required before the World Cup but when he came to us he was not only a captain for Aston Villa but a goal scoring midfield player as well but we haven’t seen that much of him because he has been playing a deeper role. He is capable of scoring from midfield and if we are going to be challenging for where we want to be, goals have got to be coming from all around the team. He’ll know he has to chip in with more himself next season.’
4=. Adam Johnson, 3 (Bolton, H, Sunderland A, West Ham A)
Gary’s View: ‘Adam Johnson has come in not knowing what the Premier League is all about and played just like he did at Middlesbrough for City which has made him an instant hit with the fans because they City fans love players with flair and he has certainly got that.’
4=. Shaun Wright-Phillips, 3 (C. Palace A LC R2, Burnley H, Arsenal H LC QF)
Gary’s View: ‘Shaun has had an indifferent season. He’s been in and out of the team and I don’t think he’s played his best football. He seemed to sometimes look as if he didn’t believe in his own ability. That showed in his performances.
4=. Wayne Bridge, 3 (Fulham H, Hull A, Stoke H, FAC5)
5=Patrick Vieira, 2 (Burnley A, Villa H)
5=Vincent Kompany, 2 (Middlesbrough A FAC3, Arsenal A)
Gary’s View: ‘What’s baffled me about the VMC MOTM votes this season is that Vincent Kompany hasn’t won more of the polls! I’ve got to say that he has been absolutely outstanding at the back even though he believes his best position is in midfield. If he can play better in midfield then what a midfield player we have got! After a lot of pressure and criticism of our back four for conceding goals, he has come in and been exceptional.
‘I can’t remember one game where I could have said he’s not played well today. Of the present squad, he leads by example and is not frightened of giving out a few rollockings when they are due. If he was captain he would be a lot more vocal on the pitch than our present captain Kolo. I think he has the respect of all the players because of the way he plays. But whether you wear the armband or not, you need eleven captains out there. That’s what makes the best, most successful teams.’
5=Micah Richards, 2 (the rags A LCSF2, Stoke A)
5=Emmanuel Adebayor, 2 (Wolves H, Portsmouth H)
5=Shay Given, 2 (Birmingham A, Everton A)
6=Marton Fulop, 1 (Spurs H)
6=Nedum Onuoha, 1 (Birmingham H)
6=Pablo Zabaleta, 1 (Liverpool H)
6=Martin Petrov, 1 (Scunthorpe A FAC4)
6=Roque Santa Cruz, 1 (Scunthorpe H LC R4)
City’s 1-1 throwaway against Hull City and the FA Cup exit at Stoke registered no winner.
VMC’s Men Of The Season:
2007-2008 Elano Blumer
2008-2009 Stephen Ireland
2009-2010 Carlos Tévez
Vital Manchester City and The Vital Football Network wish to thank Gary Owen for his outstanding contributions this past season.
As well as being a widely respected, successful media personality and commentator, Gary is the Managing Director of GTC Management, one of the UKs leading independent utility procurement brokers.
To find out more go to:
GTC Management: ‘Reducing Costs,Saving Time and Providing Peace of Mind’
Interview copyright Vital Manchester City, Gary Owen and The Vital Football Network 2010.
A Play As We Dream Production.